Sura Yeshiva


Coordinates: 31°52′00″N 44°27′00″E / 31.86667°N 44.45000°E / 31.86667; 44.45000Coordinates: 31°52′00″N 44°27′00″E / 31.86667°N 44.45000°E / 31.86667; 44.45000

Country Iraq

Sura Academy (Hebrew: ישיבת סורא) was a Jewish Yeshiva Academy in Babylon, one of the two major Jewish academies, along with the Pumbedita Yeshiva Academy, from the beginning of the era of the Amora sages and up till the end of the era of the Geonim. The Yeshiva Academy was founded by the Amora Abba Arika ("Rav"), a disciple of Judah haNasi. Among the well-known sages, who headed the Yeshiva one can note: Rav Huna, Rav Chisda, Rav Ashi, Yehudai Gaon, Natronai Gaon, Saadia Gaon, and more.


Abba Arika ("Rav"), arrived at Sura city to find no lively religious public life, and since he was worried about the continuity of the Jewish community in Babylon, he left Nehardea and his colleague Samuel of Nehardea, and began to establish the foundation for the Yeshiva Academy of Sura. Upon the arrival of Abba Arika at Sura city, many disciples began thronging the academy (Not necessarily from Sura city, but also from other places). The establishment of the Academy of Sura was in year 225 A.D., and around 6–7 years after Abba Arika's arrival at Babylon.

At times the academy was moved to Matha-Mehasia (מתא מחסיא), a suburb of Sura city, and after a while a Torah center was founded there as well. Abba Arika's Yeshiva academy included 1,200 disciples, and since it addressed a large community, the Yeshiva academy was divided into sections:

  1. Exedra (אכסדרא, a covered way leading up to the house of learning, open at both sides, as if a divider between the city's streets and the academy).
  2. Kittun (קיטון, rooms that served for the special needs of the Rabbis and teachers of the Yeshiva academy).
  3. Ginata (גינתא, an Orchard green garden, which its produces served as a support for the academy and its disciples).
  4. Tzipi (ציפי, mats serving as a resting place for the Yeshiva academy, and for vacations). Only a short time after the foundation of the Yeshiva academy of Sura, it became more influential than the Nehardea Academy.

List of Sura academy's Deans

Rabbinical Eras

Amora era

Savora era

Geonim era [1][2][3]

  • Mar ben R. Huna - 591
  • R. Hanina (Hananiah, Hinenai) - around 610
  • Rav Hunai (Huna) - around 650
  • Rav Sheshna (Sheshua, Mesharsheya b. Tahlifa) - around 670
  • Hanina of Nehar Pekkod (Hananiah, Hinenai, Ha-Kohen, of Nhr[River] Paqod) - 689-694
  • Hillai of Naresh (Nehilai, Ha-Levi) - 694-712
  • Jacob of nehar Pekod (Ha-Kohen, Nhr Paqod) - 712-730
  • Rav Samuel Gaon (of Pumbedita) (Rabba's grandson, descendant of Amemar) - 730-748
  • Mari ha-Kohen of Nehar Pekod (Nahr Paqod)- 748-756
  • Rav Aha Gaon - 756
  • Yehudai ben Nahman (Yehudai Gaon, Judah) (Author of Halakhot Pessoukot) - 757-761
  • Ahhunai Kahana ben Papa (Ahunai, Huna, ha-Kohen) - 761-769
  • Haninai Kahana ben R. Huna (Hanina, ha-Kohen, Ahunai) - 769-774
  • Mari ha-Levi ben R. Mesharsheya - 774-778
  • Bebai ha-Levi ben R. Abba of Nehar Pekod (Biboi, Nahr Paqod) - 778-789
  • Hilai ben R. Mari (Hillai) - 789-798
  • Jacob ha-Kohen ben Mordecai (Mordechai) - 798
  • Rav Abimai (Abumai, Ikhomai, ha-Kohen) (brother of R. Mordecai) - 815
  • Zadok ben R. Ashi (Issac Sadoq, ben Jesse) - 810-812
  • Hilai ben R. Hananiah (Hillai) - 812-816
  • Kimoi ben R. Ashi (Qimoi) - 816-820
  • Mesharsheya Kahana ben Jacob Gaon (Moses, ha-Kohen) -820-830
  • Two years of an absence of a Gaon(843-844)
  • Kohen Tzedek ben Abimai Gaon (Sedeq, Ikhomai, Abumai) - 832-843
  • Sar Shalom ben R. Boaz - 843-853
  • Natronai ben R. Hilai ben R. Mari Gaon (Natronai ben Hilai)- 853-861
  • Amram bar Sheshna (Amram Gaon, Amram ben R. Sheshna) (Author of the Siddur) - 861-872
  • Nahshon ben R. Zadok - 872-879
  • Zemah ben R. Hayyim - (Semah) 879-886
  • Rav Malka - 886
  • Hai ben R. Nahshon ben Tzadok (ben Issac Sadoq) - 886-896
  • Hilai ben Natronai ben Hilai Gaon (Hillai, Natrunai) - 896-804
  • Shalom ben R. Mishael - 904
  • Jacob ben R. Natronai (ha-Kohen, Natrunai) - 911-924
  • Yom-Tob Kahana ben R. Jacob (Yom Tov, ha-Kohen) - 924
  • Saadia ben Joseph of Faym (Al-Fayyumi, Saadia Gaon) - 928-942
  • Joseph ben R. Jacob bar Satya (ben Satya) - around 930
  • The academy was closed for about 45 years
  • Zemah Tzedek ben Paltoi ben Issac (Semah, Sedeq) - around 990 and around 998
  • Samuel ben Hofni (Hophni, ha-Kohen) (father-in-law of Hai Gaon) - around 998 and around 1012
  • Dosa ben Saadia Gaon (Son of Saadia Gaon) - 1012-1018
  • Israel ha-Kohen ben Samuel ben Hofni (Hophni) - 1018-1033

See also


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